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- Unreported Judgment
Hai v Johnson QCATA 60
Hai v Johnson  QCATA 060
Bi Fang Hai
On the papers
Senior Member Stilgoe OAM
4 May 2015
APPEAL – LEAVE TO APPEAL – MINOR CIVIL DISPUTE – MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT – where dispute about costs of repair – where repairs completed – where applicant wanted additional repair – whether repairs a necessary result of accident – where tribunal dismissed claim – whether grounds for appeal
Pickering v McArthur  QCA 294
APPEARANCES and REPRESENTATION (if any):
This matter was heard and determined on the papers pursuant to s 32 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act).
REASONS FOR DECISION
- This is the second time Bi Fang Hai has appealed a decision of the tribunal in its minor civil disputes jurisdiction. Natalie Johnson ran into the back of Ms Hai’s Holden Astra. Ms Johnson admitted liability but disputed the $1,653.70 cost of repairs. She delivered a new tailgate to Ms Hai and offered to pay for it to be fitted. At the first hearing, the tribunal ordered Ms Johnson pay Ms Hai, $280.50, the cost of fitting the tailgate.
- Ms Hai successfully appealed that decision and the dispute was sent back to the tribunal for rehearing. At the second hearing, Ms Hai wanted Ms Johnson to pay $1,196.80 for additional repairs. Two Justices of the Peace, sitting in the minor civil disputes jurisdiction of the tribunal, dismissed Ms Hai’s claim.
- Ms Hai wants to appeal that decision. She says that the first hearing was unlawful, corrupt and discriminatory. She says that the cost of repair should be much cheaper if Ms Johnson would ‘do the right thing’. She says the rehearing was discriminatory because it found that her car was too old. She says the second decision was wrong because she has no money to pay for the damage to her car. She says Ms Johnson lied and misled the tribunal.
- Because this is an appeal from a decision of the tribunal in its minor civil disputes jurisdiction, leave is necessary. Leave to appeal will usually be granted where there is a reasonable argument that the decision is attended by error, and an appeal is necessary to correct a substantial injustice to the applicant caused by that error.
- The appeal tribunal has already made a decision about the first hearing. The appeal tribunal granted leave to appeal because Ms Hai did not have access to a translator. That error has been addressed. It is not a ground for leave to appeal in this hearing.
- The tribunal’s task in the second hearing was to decide the level of compensation required to repair the damage Ms Johnson caused. Ms Johnson’s behaviour after the incident is not relevant to that task unless Ms Hai could show that Ms Johnson’s actions increased the cost of repairs. I have considered the transcript and the material before the tribunal. There is no evidence that Ms Johnson’s actions increased the costs of repair.
- Ms Hai’s financial circumstances are not relevant. The tribunal’s task was to look at the damage, decide whether Ms Johnson caused the damage, and, if so, decide the cost of repairing the damage.
- Ms Hai states that the second tribunal assumed that the dispute had been decided in the first hearing and, therefore, did not listen to Ms Hai, or give her time to present her case.
- The transcript shows a different story. The second tribunal started from a position that Ms Johnson had given Ms Hai the tailgate and paid the fitting cost. The tribunal wanted Ms Hai to explain why she was entitled to additional money.
- The tribunal did not accept Ms Hai’s submissions. It found that the tailgate and bumper bar needed repair. It found that these two items had been repaired. The tribunal found that there was no evidence that damage to the exhaust system or the rear door was caused by the incident. The evidence can support the tribunal’s findings and I can find no compelling reason to come to a different view.
- The tribunal accepted, and I accept, that Ms Hai had higher quotes for the necessary repairs. But Ms Hai is not entitled to payment of the higher quotes if the car can be repaired for less. The tribunal found that the car was repaired for less. The evidence can support that finding and I can find no compelling reason to come to a different view.
- Ms Hai states that Ms Johnson was not truthful in her evidence and that she planned to scam Ms Hai. The tribunal formed a view about the truth of the witnesses. It is not for me to come to a different view.
- Ms Hai’s submissions on appeal refer to her dissatisfaction with the process, her intention to lodge complaints and her desire that the Magistrate and Justices of the Peace be stood down and retrained. The appeal tribunal has no power to make orders about any of these matters.
- While I understand Ms Hal is dissatisfied with the result, she has now had the benefit of two hearings and two appeals. It should not be so surprising that the results of the two hearings are consistent, because Ms Hai presented the same evidence at both hearings.
- There is no error in the tribunal’s second decision. Leave to appeal should be refused.
- Published Case Name:
Bi Fang Hai v Natalie Johnson
- Shortened Case Name:
Hai v Johnson
 QCATA 60
Senior Member Stilgoe
04 May 2015